Belarus Foreign Policy Index № 24 (January–February 2015)

Belarus Foreign Policy Index № 24 (January–February 2015)

We are proud to present the twenty-fourth issue of Belarus Foreign Policy Index, in which we explore Belarus’s foreign policy in the five key dimensions throughout the months of January and February of 2015.

Although the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) came into effect, tensions remained in Belarus’s relationship with Russia, caused by the ongoing trade wars. The deepening economic crisis in Russia produced a devastating impact on Belarus, causing a dramatic reduction in trade turnover and significant losses of Belarusian exporting companies.

On the contrary, Belarus’s relationship with the European Union reached its new peak since December 2010. The increasing numbers of working diplomatic contacts reported during the past few years have finally given a new quality to the bilateral relationship. The preparatory work within the framework of the dialogue on modernization and consultations on visa issues has entered the final stage. Apparently, the number and level of contacts with the EU will remain unchanged at least until the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.

Contacts with China were not especially active and centered mostly on the three main joint projects —the China–Belarus Industrial Park (CBIP), the Silk Road Economic Belt, and, to a lesser extent, the assembly of Geely vehicles. Following a staff reshuffle in the Belarusian government, the authorities have taken a more critical attitude to Belarus’s collaboration with China.

The Middle East remained in the focus of Belarus’s relationship with the developing world. Contacts with Iran and its allies in the region (Syria and Iraq) were stepped up.

Minsk continued to pursue an active relationship with Ukraine. Despite serious problems in the Ukrainian economy, there was no drop in the two-way trade. Minsk continues making efforts to consolidate its status as a key venue for negotiations to resolve the Ukrainian crisis seeking to enhance its own safety, maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and improve its international image.

Read the full text of the twenty- fourth issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index in PDF